Rome: the Doll Hospital where antique dolls are given new life.

We are in a cobblestone alley near the popular Piazza del Popolo in Rome, Italy. Here, a weather-striped window showcases porcelain heads, limbs, and bodies of dolls long lost and completely broken. Above the creepy repository of disrepaired faces pressed to the glass, small owl figurines perch menacingly. No. This isn’t Rome’s own little shop of horrors, but it is actually the Restauri Artistici Squatriti, known to Romans as “l’ospedale delle bambole,” which means “dolls’ hospital”. Here, Federico Squatriti and his mother Gelsomina, who is now over 80 years old,…

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